A state court jury has awarded more than $1 million to a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) sergeant who sued the department for retaliation after he complained about shoddy treatment because he is gay.
Sgt. Ronald Crump’s lawsuit claimed he was the frequent target of anti-gay comments from his supervisor, Lt. John Romero. For example, Crump alleged that Romero said, “I’m not doing this because you’re gay.” Referencing Crump’s female predecessor, Romero allegedly said Crump was “Ruby without the heels.”
Crump also accused Romero of unfairly writing him up for disciplinary action. According to Crump, he received a “notice to correct,” a serious disciplinary action and later was the subject of an “administrative transfer.”
For Crump, the last straw came when he sought to get away from Romero by requesting a transfer. Instead of approving the transfer Crump wanted, Romero allegedly saw to it that he was assigned to a less desirable station.
That’s when Crump decided to sue. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing gave the go-ahead to his lawsuit alleging that the LAPD retaliated against him in violation of state law.
According to Crump’s attorney, he offered to settle his claims for $100,000 and a transfer to the LAPD’s Hollywood division, but that the LAPD refused. Bad move. After hearing both sides of the story, a jury awarded Crump $1.2 million.
Note: Sometimes, it makes sense to accept a modest settlement offer rather than risk a huge jury award.